Liberty and Domesticity: The Portrayal of Japanese Housewives in the 1948 Issues of Pacific Stars and Stripes during the Allied Occupation

Document Type


Publication Date



Analyzing images of Japanese housewives from the daily issues of Pacific Stars and Stripes in 1948, the paper finds that the portrayals align with the shifting propagandas of the SCAP—initially, the emancipation of women via the 1947 Constitution of Japan, and then the promotion of domesticity due to the Cold War in 1948. For example, while the newspaper does show housewives voting (a showcase of liberation), it excludes images either of women in active movements or of female politicians. Instead, many images depict the housewives’ nurturing and subservient side, and reinforce their passivity, obscuring other narratives of women in the country. The Japanese housewives are also portrayed as inferior, most especially in comparison with their American counterparts, showcasing the West’s superiority over Japan as an occupying power.